Review Summary: Maudlin's final release and their finest. With music that is both captivating and challenging, this is Driver at his prime.
Leaving Your Body Map is mine. It traps me in some sort of state that almost no other album can pull off, and does so for the entirety of it's songs. Having owned Bath for two years and listening to it almost religiously before even discovering LYBM, this album shot to one of (if not the) greatest album for me personally as soon as I heard it. A true work of art - and in my opinion, undoubtedly Driver's best.
The musicianship on LYBM is very hard to explain. For the most part it's metal, but you'll find that it's not fair to call it that entirely. Some songs don't even reveal any aspects of the genre at all, with acoustic guitar, soft spoken vocals, sleigh bells, or even the viola making a brief appearance. There's even a few moments of sax that accompany parts of the clean transitions, but I wouldn't deem the sound as jazzy in the slightest. Oddly enough, none of it ever feels out of place in the on what is widely classified as a metal album. The lyrics are personal and abstract ranging in everything from purpose to astral projections, climaxes are exceptional, and transitions within each song are extraordinarily smooth when desired. Toby Driver has created something that is almost spiritual within these songs, and it's incredible. It's the emotionally polarizing album, and the clean/harsh formula that structures and elicits those emotions is genius. Driver and maudlin seem to have a knack for knowing exactly when to back off and ride the song out in a different fashion, or bring in whatever instrument fits the mold best to create something entirely unique and captivating on it's own.
Throughout the sixty one minute album, you'll get a fair share in moments of distraught, pain, and almost a sense of true evil. Screams can be heard in the beginning of a song at a far distance, like someone's being beaten to death while trying to escape. Yet, the next song will have you in a state of bliss entirely throughout. Like you've ventured far off into the perfect dream, never to return back. Moments like this are scattered throughout LYBM and the entire trip is so grand, holding such a sense of certainty, that it's really an enigma when attempting to figure out how an individual can find the psyche to write music like this. With this album, you're either in fear of what may come next - grasping for something to hold on to under all the power and angst of emotions that are the farthest away from joy, or you're marveling at how beautiful, soothing, and awe-inspiring the sounds can be. It can grab a hold of you and really question the way you view your lifestyle and the things within it. And that's what sort of sets it aside from Bath, the emotions elicited here are much more extreme. It doesn't set up climaxes the same way the previous album does, nor does it ever stay too stagnant. The songs are much harsher in sound when needed, and more surreal and ambient when calming down. Not for the fearful or closed minded, Leaving Your Body Map is more than just music - it's an experience. And for those who focus, embrace it, and truly desire a comprehension of it's complexity.. it's a modern masterpiece.